Heart Murmurs

These normal noises are extremely common in children. Up to a quarter (25%) of healthy children have these soft murmurs at different times.

The murmurs arise from the blood flow through the large veins as they return to the chest or from the blood flow around the bends of the heart. The heart in children is compact, the normal bends are quite tight and the heart rate is faster than in adults. As a result the normal flow produces a soft noise or a murmur. An analogy is the noise that water makes in a stream as it curves round a bend.

These noises are often heard at one of the routine examinations, or when there is an incidental infection. They are louder when the heart is beating faster than usual e.g. with a temperature, or if the child is particularly worried. They are usually soft, heard in one area, change with sitting or lying, frequently have a buzzing or musical quality and are the only finding. The rest of the examination is normal.

The noise is often so typical that no tests are necessary. The family may be reassured that all is well and the child may be discharged with a normal heart and no restrictions

Victoria & Tasmania